The Chabad Lubavitch Global Network website has a great article in their news section about the 2008 Sydney Taylor Book Award winner Strange Relations by Sonia Levitin.
The piece is entitled "Award Winning Novel for Teens Based on Chabad Representatives." They've delved into Levitin's experiences as she created the novel, revealing that her own relationships with Chabad representatives in Bel Air, CA and Honolulu, HI greatly influenced her writing. Levitin herself became more Jewishly observant over time, and is in a good position to write about the Chabad lifestyle from both the insider and outsider points of view, bringing new understanding to readers. As the lubavitch.com article says:
Written for a wide-ranging audience, some passages that describe Marne’s relationship with teenage boys may be deemed be too risqué for reading in homes where value is placed on reserving intimacy for marriage. Levitin said she wrote the book for teens unfamiliar or wary of people dressed in Chasidic
“The next time they see someone in a hat and coat, and girls bundled up in the heat, instead of being disdainful they should look beyond the external, and feel that they can connect,” Levitin said.
Levitin also describes the main character, Marne, as "me in a different incarnation. I know what it is like to be confused and look for my identity and search for G-d."